The 49ers were the first team in NFL history to be shut out of the playoffs by a two-game losing streak.
They were the worst team in the league by three points in the regular season and had no winning streak after their bye week.
But in a season when the Niners ranked last in the NFL in points allowed, the 49er defense made a statement on Sunday by allowing the New Orleans Saints to score a season-high 38 points in a 30-23 win.
The 49er defenders played an effective game, giving up a combined five sacks, a fumble recovery and three interceptions.
The defensive unit allowed the Saints to put up only 1,019 yards of total offense in the second half, the lowest total in NFL playoff history.
“It was a great game.
It’s a lot of pressure to play a team like New Orleans, which is not a good team, in a playoff game, especially at home, and they were playing great football,” defensive tackle Justin Smith said.
“I thought the defense did a great job.
We’ve seen them struggle in the past.
We gave up a lot and I think we made some plays on the ball and the defense made some tackles. “
The offense did a good job on defense, too.
We gave up a lot and I think we made some plays on the ball and the defense made some tackles.
I think they came out in the third quarter and gave us some good opportunities to get off a couple of quick scores.”
Rookie defensive tackle Kyle Murphy added, “I’m proud of the guys.
They stepped up and did a fantastic job.
We were able to come out and execute our game plan and get off some good plays.”
The 49-14 win ended the Ninas first losing streak since a nine-game run in 2011.
Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said the team is confident after the bye week, especially after the Saints showed up the following week.
“They were pretty good,” Harbaugh said.
“”I think the big thing is you can’t say enough about the guys that came out of this bye week and did an outstanding job.
They showed their class, and it’s a team effort.
They did a really good job of coming out of their bye.
They came out with some energy.
“We’re really excited to get back to work.”
The Niners are 5-1 this season when their offense has scored 40 or more points.
They have not allowed a running back to score 40 or fewer rushing yards since 2013.
San Francisco (6-5) has scored 30 or more rushing touchdowns in five of its past six games.
The team also allowed its two leading scorers to score less than 20 points.
Quarterback Matt Barkley (20.2) was sacked five times in the game, including three times in his last four.
His completion percentage of 61.7 was the lowest since his rookie season.
He was sacked six times.
The Saints (6 -5) lost their fourth straight game, a 20-20 tie in Week 4.
New Orleans has been shut out for the first time this season since a 30+-point defeat at Seattle in Week 5.
The Ninas defense also gave up three sacks in the loss.
“You can’t expect to come back from that,” cornerback Keenan Lewis said.
The Seahawks have lost five straight in San Francisco and are 0-5 in the postseason.
“That’s not a big surprise,” linebacker Patrick Willis said.
I just thought our guys did a heck of a job in that game.
They just weren’t able to execute.
It was a tough game, but we knew that going in.”